(Editor’s note: This post about working as an expat student in Paris originally appeared on The American in Paris website. It’s reposted here with permission.)
I’ve had almost every student job imaginable since I’ve been in Paris. I’ve traded daily English lessons for my apartment and picked up a child after school while speaking exclusively in English. I’ve cleaned Airbnb properties and met guests to hand over the keys. I’ve done babysitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, and house sitting.
As a student, you’re legally allowed to work “up to 964 hours per year, or the equivalent of 60 percent of the maximum hours permitted.” That’s about 20 hours per week.
If you’re an expat student in Paris who wants to start earning an extra euro or two, below you’ll find several different options that aren’t soul-crushing and actually kind of fun.
Providing childcare is one of the easiest and most common ways to earn extra money as an expat student. There are a lot of French families who want their children to learn English, and a great way to do so is through an English-speaking babysitter:
- Au pair “lite:” One of the biggest benefits of being an au pair is that your “host family,” or the family you’re working for, provides your housing. If you don’t want all of the responsibilities of a traditional au pair, like dinner, bathtime, and bedtime, keep your eye out for what I like to call au pair “lite.” I’ve had several of these types of positions. One was 10 hours of English lessons/babysitting per week in exchange for a tiny apartment. Another featured the same hours but in exchange for a salary.
- English lessons: This doesn’t mean you’ll have to come up with a strict lesson plan. If you cringe at the thought, opt for families with younger children, who will learn much better through games and simply speaking in English around them. Those 10 hours of English that I mentioned above? Those were 10 sweet hours of simply speaking in English while playing with a 5-year-old.
- After school pick up: My favorite childcare student job in Paris was so simple that I couldn’t believe someone paid me to do it. I was required to pick up a 10-year-old from school, walk him home, and stay with him until his mom got home from work. All in all, it was about an hour and a half per day. The caveat? I was required to speak in English the entire time, which wasn’t a problem.
If you’re interested in childcare and have control over your class schedule, you’ll want to try and keep your Wednesdays free. Most French children don’t have school on Wednesdays, or only for half a day, so, it’s a great day to get in those hours!
You can find childcare jobs in several different places online. First and foremost I would look on Facebook for groups of au pairs, students, and parents in Paris. Then, you may want to check out other websites such as MisterBilingue, Mômji, or Angloinfo. You’ll find a lot of French families who are looking for a helping hand who can also teach their kids a new language. Or, you may find Anglophone families who are looking for a babysitter who can speak their language. Either way, it pays to be an English-speaking babysitter in the French capital.
Pet sitting and dog walking
Another one of my favorite student jobs in Paris was dog walker. If you miss your pets from back home but don’t want the responsibility of owning one here, the next best thing is pet care! I’ve walked dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages, and it is one of the easiest and most rewarding student jobs I’ve ever had. Pet care is a great option if you don’t like kids or don’t want to teach English:
- Dog walker: there are several different dog walker jobs out there. I’ve had everyday gigs and others just one or two days a week. Some people will want to pay you hourly, others, a weekly flat rate. Dog walking is also a great way to get outside and enjoy the city – while getting paid for it.
- Pet sitter: whether it’s for a dog, cat, or both, pet sitting is another easy way to earn extra money as an expat student. Most pet owners will require that you stay in their house or apartment, but I have also come across some people who are willing to take their animal to you. However, most people who want a pet sitter will also want you to be their house sitter – but more on that later.
I’ve had great luck as a pet sitter in Paris, and, in addition to being a way to make money, it also gave me the opportunity to explore certain areas of the city I would have never gone to. And, for those of you with teeny tiny apartments, it will give you the chance to stay somewhere with a little bit more room, while getting paid to do it.
I found most of my gigs in a Facebook group called Paris Expat Dog and Cat Owners.
Housesitting and Airbnb
If you don’t want to work with children or pets, you may consider housesitting or working as an Airbnb cleaner and/or greeter. I’ve done all three in Paris and, again, it’s a nice way to earn money and explore different areas of the city:
- Housesitter: as mentioned, a lot of potential pet sitting jobs will involve housesitting as well. But, there are also people without pets who are simply looking for someone to water their plants and keep an eye on their place while they’re out of town. Sometimes you’ll be asked to stop by a few days a week to check in on things, other times you may be asked to sleep there.
- Airbnb: Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, but did you know it has more than 50,000 Airbnb listings? What do all of these properties have in common? They need to be cleaned between each guest. Some Airbnb properties will also require that someone be there to meet the guests for a key handover.
Again, I found most of these types of jobs in Facebook groups and on Craigslist. Similar to childcare and pet care, once you build up a good reputation you’ll also be able to find more gigs through word of mouth.
These options are not the end all be all for making extra money in Paris – far from it. Other options include working in a bar, restaurant, café, or even at walking or bike tour companies. Rest assured, there are plenty of ways to make money as an expat student in Paris.
Molli offers private consultation services which range from help with visas, adjusting to life abroad, to Paris travel itineraries. Click here to learn more.
About the author:
Molli Sébrier has lived in Paris since 2014 when she decided to leave her American life behind and pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Since living abroad, Molli has earned her master’s degree in English Studies with a concentration in literature and is now working towards making that becoming a writer thing happen.
If you’re interested in following your own dreams of moving to France, she also offers consulting.
You can follow her journey on Instagram @mollim, and if you like to read, Molli runs a female-focused book review website called The Mistress of Books. You can also follow her website on Instagram @themistressofbooks.
See more from Dispatches’ France archive here.